I was recently asked to go to EA Burnaby and play NHL Slapshot for the Wii. So Chuck Beaman (camera operator) and I grabbed the camera and headed to Burnaby (see part 1 of my video preview),We were greeted by Rick Brown a designer on the game to talk about NHL Slapshot and the new NHL Slapshot controller, and the new game modes it offers.
NHL Slapshot has been in development at EA Burnaby for a couple of years due to launch this Tuesday September 7th for the Nintendo Wii, and this game has many things going for it.
“The Great One” Wayne Gretzky (cover athlete) is available to any team you want, so just choose him from the free agent pool and add him to your squad. CHL teams are also available to play as.
EA really wanted to bring back the feeling of being a kid with one of those small sticks in your hand and the craze of living room hockey, so their solution was the NHL Slapshot game and controller.
The NHL Slapshot controller is a hockey stick in your hand, with the nunchuck in the top to control your player and the Wii mote in the shaft of the stick to detect the motions. prepare to shoot,pass and hit with the stick. Taking shots is extremely easy just by flicking the stick you take a wrist shot and to take a slap shot just wind up and shoot. To hit you do a crosschecking motion with the stick holding it parallel. You can also play goaltender with the stick when you pop out the nunchuck and hold it in front of you, which all felt really well tuned and responsive.
The first prototype of this stick was actually made with a 300 dollar composite stick with the Wiimote and nunchuck inside it.
The Slapshot stick comes in the box with the game and additional ones can be bought at the place of purchase of the game.
The game looks and plays a little different too compared to its big brother NHL 11. The designers had a common phrase as they made this game “What would nintendo do” so when you take a really hard slapshot or big hit you get some flames behind the puck or a satisfying thump with a hit.
One big difference is the ability to play their Peewee to Pro mode in which you can create a character and lead him/her through 5 different leagues (Peewee,Bantam,Junior,CHL and NHL), complete with different game rules and team sizes. In Peewee it’s 3 on 3 but arcade style, CHL/NHL is full 5 on 5 with all the rules and team members available.
With 4 different player models as you advance your career through Pee Wee to Pro you will visibly see your character grow with your eyes. Adding to that is their boost system which allows you to unlock for your character over 200 boosts available for completing things in the game such as getting all A’s in a game. You will also be able change your attributes as you upgrade your player.
Another first for a hockey sporting game on the Wii is online rosters and schedules, Day one players will be able to download current rosters and schedules that will update as they change over the season using the Wii’s wifi internet capabilities. It was also mentioned that it would be supported for at least 2 years so you would be able to come back to the game and update even after this current season is over and then to the next this is EA’s strategy on the WIi.
Other game modes include Stanley Cup Playoffs (best of 7 series), Free 4 all and 3 other mini games. Free 4 all has you and up to 3 friends lace up your skates and go against one goaltender to score 3 goals first while all fighting for one puck.
The 3 other mini games are Shooter vs Goalie,2 on 2 and classic shootout. Shooter vs Goalie is player VS player where one player is the shooter and the other is the goalie using the goalie controls.
2 VS 2 is the regular game of hockey played 2 on 2.
Classic shootout is a shootout with 5 players on either side that can be played by 4 people with multipliers and bonuses for consecutive goals.
After playing 2 games against Rick (see part 2 of my video) I think Im able to say that EA provided a very high quality NHL game to the Wii that far exceeded my impressions of what a hockey game for the Wii was like. I would definitely recommend this to any one with a Wii or a great stocking stuffer for that special hockey player in your family.
So make sure you check it out and look for it on store shelves on September 7th